What objects would you say help make any space feel like home? Selecting just a handful of practical objects for basic functions like dining, sleeping and meditating can be difficult, but it gets even harder when you have to make sure they’re portable. Exactly what you choose probably varies a lot individually, and culturally, but many of us would settle on many of the same items that are packed inside the Japanese-style picnic basket known as the Nomadic Life Kit by Gerardo Osio.
This distinctly Japanese take on a picnic set includes five basic elements: Goza, a tatami mat made of igusa straws; Hako, a wooden carrier influenced by boxes used by Buddhist monks; Sabi, a copper tableware set; Zafu, a cushion design borrowed from those used in Zen Buddhism, and Kami, a candle/incense holder and flower vase providing light, warmth, aroma and a connection to nature.
The kit comes in a pleasing array of natural tones, including stone grey on the cushion, sage green for the mat and a creamy, buttery pale peach shade for the leather carrier. Everything uses natural materials, including wood, straw, leather, cotton, stone and copper, so that they will change naturally over time, telling a story of their use and showing that they have been loved. To Osio, that helps create “a sense of belonging” when the objects are used, no matter how far from home you might be.
The designer of the kit took inspiration from Buddhist and Shinto religions, specifically their focus on well-being, simplicity and appreciation for “anicca.” Anicca, the concept of impermanence, represents an undeniable and unescapable fact of life on this planet, encouraging appreciation for all stages of existence, from birth to death and decay. Just like humans, these objects won’t remain the same over their lifetime.
In this way, the objects we use every day are almost an extension of the body, showing wear, weathering and deterioration, though they could potentially outlive their owners all the same. Keeping a small collection of familiar and comforting objects nearby, even while traveling, maintains a sense of connection to your most relaxing and comforting states of being while also serving as a reminder of your connection to the life cycle.
“Home is a place where we develop our most essential activities such as eating and resting,” says Osio. “It is also a space where we have a reconnection with ourselves, away from all distractions of everyday life. Nowadays people travel a lot from one place to another because of work, making a nomadic lifestyle a reality for a lot of people. This kind of lifestyle creates a tendency of losing the sense of belonging to a place.”
“This project was made in collaboration with six different Japanese traditional craft workshops, all the objects are hand made by the craftsmen in Kyoto, Fukui and Okayama.”
If you were putting together a similar kit that reflects your own comforts and culture, what would you choose? Perhaps a special mug, a jewelry box, a photo in a frame or a sentimental trinket passed down from a relative? Or would yours be a lot like this?